If you are suffering from dandruff and are asking around for advice, many will tell you to wash your hair every day with an anti-dandruff shampoo to remove the flakes and get rid of any excess oils. Unfortunately, this method doesn’t seem to work well for certain people. In fact, some people find that shampooing their hair every day actually dry out the scalp and make their dandruff worse. Choosing the right shampoo is like a trial and error process and over time, you will be switching between many types of shampoos.
Relying on one type of shampoo all the time will not give you the best result as it will lose its effectiveness over time. Also make sure that you read the instruction first before using a shampoo product. Most dandruff shampoos would recommend that you leave the shampoo on the scalp for at least 5-10 minutes before rinsing.
Nevertheless, you should NOT use shampoo if your scalp skin is broken or swollen.
Having said that, some commercial shampoos contain certain chemicals that can build up in your hair and make your dandruff worse. With so many different brands out there, choosing the right one can be really daunting if not impossible.
Nevertheless, you can narrow down your search by understanding what type of ingredients you think will be beneficial for your scalp. Since each person has different scalp problems, learning what each ingredient does can really help you make a better buying decision.
Coal tar: Believe it or not, coal tar, a byproduct of the coal manufacturing process, is actually used in certain shampoos to help slow down the shedding of skin cells on your scalp.
This is to be taken with a pinch of salt because they are certain researches that show that these coal tars also contain cancer-causing polyaromatic hydrocarbons. If you’re allergic to coal tar, avoid any shampoos that contain this ingredient.
Zinc pyrithione: Because of its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, you will find this as the active ingredient in many well-known shampoos. Its purpose is to reduce the fungus on your scalp and eliminate fungi such as yeast which may be causing you dandruff problems.
Salicylic acid: Most people find that after using shampoos which contain the active ingredient salicylic acid, their scalps feel dried out and irritated. This is hardly surprising as the purpose of this ingredient is to loosen up the scaly skin on the scalp so that they will shed more readily. As a result, the skin on your scalp will feel quite irritated after using it.
If you use a salicylic acid shampoo, make sure that you take that into consideration and be sure to avoid applying any harsh cleaners or skin care products that contain alcohol, sulfur, benzoyl peroxide and tretinoin as it will further irritate your scalp and even worsen your dandruff problem.
If you experience persistent irritation on your scalp, you should stop using the shampoo and seek medical advice if necessary.
Selenium sulfide: As an anti-infective agent, this ingredient is used it many anti-dandruff shampoos with the aim of reducing itching and flaking of the scalp. It basically works by eliminating the excessive growth of the malassezia fungus on your scalp so as to reduce excessive shedding and irritation.
Nevertheless, selenium sulfide is also known to have its share of side effects too—hair discoloration, increased hair fall, oily or dry hair and scalp. If you experience these symptoms, you should stop using it and check with your doctor for further medical advice.
Ketoconazole: Ketoconazole is a broad-spectrum synthetic antifungal agent that is used in many shampoos to control dandruff and relieve scalp flaking and scaling.
Although some people do experience success with ketoconazole shampoos, there are also people who develop allergic reactions to it and experience side effects such as hair discoloration, scalp irritation, abnormal hair texture, pimple-like bumps on the scalp, and oiliness or dryness of the hair and scalp. Again, if using this shampoo causes further scalp irritation, you should stop using it.
Alternatively, if anti-dandruff shampoos just don’t work for you, you should try some of the many home remedies for dandruff, which will often be a lot less aggressive than chemical ingredients.